USMNT vs. El Salvador: Photo Gallery
The United States Men’s National Team visited Exploria Stadium looking to stay perfect in the Purple Palace and to advance beyond the group stage in the Concacaf Nations League. With Ricardo Pepi’s second-half goal providing the slim margin, the Yanks accomplished their mission with a 1-0 victory over El Salvador.
Hugo Perez’s La Selecta were organized and determined, making life difficult for the Yanks, surrounding U.S. attacking stars Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Alejandro Zendejas, and Daryl Dike — the latter making his return to both the USMNT and Exploria Stadium. Whenever the U.S. threatened to come forward in transition, El Salvador fouled and forced the Yanks to execute on set pieces. The U.S. couldn’t find enough precision on those throughout the night.
After a scoreless first period, the United States came out of the locker room with a burst of energy and a flurry of chances. Reyna hit the post inside the first minute of the second half and the Yanks were flying around the final third, looking for the opener. El Salvador resolutely withstood the pressure to start the half, but after substitutions started, the game changed. Pepi came on for Dike at the hour mark and immediately made an impact.
Weston McKennie and Pepi seemed to share a telepathic moment and the midfielder sent a perfect through ball up the right side and Pepi made a perfectly timed turn and run to take it in stride. Holding off the defender, Pepi spotted the goalkeeper off his line and delicately chipped the ball in for the game’s only goal. Pepi had a couple of other decent chances but nothing else went in. El Salvador’s defending was good but the visitors got very few looks at Matt Turner’s goal on the night. Turner made a good save in the second minute but then wasn’t tested the rest of the way. The U.S. improved to 6-0-0 at Exploria Stadium and will move on to the semifinals in Las Vegas this summer.
We hope you enjoy these images from an exciting night of international soccer in former Orlando City striker Dike’s return to the City Beautiful.
Images: Dan MacDonald
Words: Michael Citro